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democracynow.org 05/23/16 05/23/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york this is , democracy now! >> the former inspector general for the department of defense, to me the main issue is, can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process? amy: today and a democracy now! broadcast exclusive, a former senior pentagon official speaks out for the first time about how his superiors broke the law to
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punish the key national security agency whistleblower. by now, everyone knows how edward snowden reveals how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world, but if you want to know why snowden did it and how he did it, you need to know the story of john crane, who worked for 25 years for the inspector general's office which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. he now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system. crane is coming forward to speak about what happened to nsa whistleblower thomas drake who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. drake's house was raided by the fbi in 2007 and he was charged in 2010 under the espionage act. >> espionage is a last thing my whistleblowing in first
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amendment activities and actions are all about. this has become the specter of a truly are well young -- orwellian world where whistleblowing has become espionage. amy: we will speak with john crane and journalist mark hertsgaard, who tells his story for the first time in his new book, "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in the age of snowden." all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has confirmed a u.s. drone strike in pakistan killed the leader of the afghan taliban. in a statement, obama called the death of mullah aktar hummad mansour "an important milestone." speaking earlier today in hanoi as part of his visit to vietnam, obama denied the killing marked a shift in the u.s. role in afghanistan. >> this does not represent a
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shift in our approach. we are not reentering the day-to-day combat operations that are currently being conducted by afghan security forces. our job is to help afghanistan secure its own country, not to have our men and women in uniform engage in that fight for them. amy: prior to war in afghanistan, the vietnam war was the longest war in u.s. history. as part of his visit to vietnam, obama announced the end of one of the last vestiges of the vietnam war, a decades-old ban on the sale of lethal military equipment to vietnam. >> i can also announce the united states is fully lifting the ban on the sale of the military quitman to vietnam that has been a place for some 50 years. as with all of our defense partners, sales will need to still meet strict requirements,
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including those related to human rights, but this change will ensure that vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the cold war. amy: this friday, obama will also visit the japanese city of hiroshima, becoming the first sitting u.s. president to visit the city where the u.s. dropped an atomic bomb at the end of world war ii. obama will not apologize for the atomic bombing which killed , 140,000 people and seriously wounded another 100,000. al jazeera reports heavy shelling in solutia has killed six civilians. fallujah became the first iraqi city conquered by isis in january 2014. a decade earlier after the u.s. invasion of iraq, the u.s. pushed to recapture solutia involved extensive use of depleted uranium and white
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phosphorus leaving a legacy of birth the sex -- birth defect second tennis today. in syria, a series of explosions have killed scores of people in areas controlled by the syrian regime which are so host russian forces. isis has claimed responsibility for monday's attacks in the coastal cities of jableh and tartous. state media said at least 78 people were killed while monitoring groups put the toll at more than 100. in the united states tensions , between democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders and the democratic party establishment. sanders has announced his support for tim canova, who is challenging wasserman schultz's congressional seat in florida. in a cnn interview with jake tapper, sanders also criticized the superdelegate system that he said "anointed" hillary clinton as the nominee. >> the point that i was making is there something absurd when i get 46% of the delegates that come from real contests, real
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elections, and 7% of the superdelegates. the point i made a few minutes after that is that some 400 of hillary clinton's superdelegates came on board her campaign before anybody else announced. an anointment. that is bad for the process. amy: in austria, a far-right candidate has deadlocked with a green party candidate in the presidential elections. the close race will be decided by mail-in ballots. nobert hofer of the far-right freedom party has campaigned on an anti-migrant campaign focusing on the arrival of refugees. far right wing parties have seen a surge across the area but , hofer would be the first far-right head of state elected in europe since 1945. people took to the streets more than 400 cities on six continents saturday for a global action against the agribusiness giant monsanto. here in new york city, about 100 people marched against monsanto's use of the herbicide glyphosate, which some studies
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have shown may cause cancer. >> my name is christina and i'm here to protest because i think monsanto is a terrible company of so many ways. it hurts the planet, animals, people, our bodies. they really just only care about profit and having global control over our food supply, and they're not open-minded about having their food labeled or tested properly, and they certainly don't care about the were -- care about the people eating it or the farmers were and death traps and committing suicide on a daily basis. amy: in mexico, demonstrators said they did not want monsanto's genetically-modified because of native crops. >> so every time someone once to sew corn, they have to ask permission and pay month center to do it. each time someone sells corn, that the pay commission to them. we believe in mexico, is the
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origin point of corn, the most important grain for humanity today, the selling of monsanto's seeds in not be allowed at any point. we are the genetic reservoir of this grain. after oil, so most widely used product. amy: the world meteorological organization has called for all states to ratify and implement the paris climate accords as high temperatures continue to smash global records. spokesperson claire nullis said urgent action is needed to -- after april broke yet another record. >> another month, another temperature record has been set. surprise, surprise, april said new records for record high temperatures both on land and the ocean. this is the 12th straight month that we have seen temperatures records broken. what is particularly concerning is the margin at which these records are being broken.
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they are not being broken, there being smashed and on a fairly consistent basis. last thursday marked india's hottest day ever, as temperatures soared to 124 degrees fahrenheit. meanwhile in bangladesh, a cyclone has slammed coastal areas, forcing half a million people to flee and killing at least 24. scientists have warned climate -- such storms may be amplified by climate change. meanwhile, activists in peekskill, new york, have staged the latest act of civil disobedience against the fossil fuel industry, which is the leading cause of climate change. 21 people were arrested attempting to block construction of a pipeline that would carry high-pressure methane gas pipeline that through residential communities near the indian point nuclear plant. protesters formed a human chain -- benjamin shephard spoke shortly before he was arrested. >> we are here to ask about representatives are on record as begins the pipeline. the people are
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against it, who is calling the shots? the people or the corporations. if the corporations won't get out of the way, people are going to have to get in their way and that is why we're here, to stop the machinery. amy: a guantanamo prisoner held for 14 years without criminal trial has been cleared for release. u.s. forces captured the prisoner, known as obaidullah, during a raid in afghanistan in 2002 when he was 19. he was accused of planting bombs in a field near his home, although his attorneys said the bombs were relics of the war against the soviet invasion of afghanistan which his family had buried in order to dispose of them. the obama administration dismissed the charges against him in but he remained in 2011, prison. he has alleged torture during interrogation and was one of the prisoners who launched a hunger strike in 2013. news reports at the time said he had lost 36 pounds. despite obama's longstanding pledge to close guantanamo there are now 80 prisoners there, 28 of them cleared to leave. oklahoma governor mary fallin has vetoed an unprecedented bill to make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to three
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years in prison. fallin, who has a long history of supporting anti-choice measures, vetoed the measure on a technicality, saying the language surrounding an exception to save the life of the pregnant person was too vague. the bill's sponsor, republican state senator nathan dahm, has said he may try to override the governor's veto. and here in new york, farm workers have passed through new york city as part of a 200-mile-long march to demand equal protection under labor laws. they say farm workers face long hours and harsh working conditions, but are exempt from many state and federal labor protections. the farm workers are marching from smithtown, long island to the new york capital albany in upstate to demand overtime pay, an optional day of rest each week and the right to , collectively bargain. heriberto gonzalez spoke outside city hall in new york city. >> i would like to say each time you are eating or each time you have something in your hands,
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that you're going to you, remember us. we do not have the rights that other workers have. if you can't support us, we're going to be marching for weeks and a few days. if you see as, it would be good for you to support us by walking with us. maybe a couple of hours, one hour or a day if you can. that would be good. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. today democracy now! broadcast , a exclusive a former senior , pentagon official speaks out for the first time about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key national security agency whistleblower. i now everyone knows how edward snowden revealed the government spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. but if you want to know why snowden did it in the way he did it, needed to know the story of john crane, who worked 25 years for the department of defense inspector general's office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption.
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he now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system. crane is coming for to speak about what happened to thomas drake who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. drake's house was raided by the fbi in 2007. he was charged in 2010 under the espionage act. in he pled guilty to a minor 2011, misdemeanor of unauthorized use of a government computer. he did not serve jail time. john crane and edward snowden's stories are told in the new book "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in , the age of snowden." in dozens of hours of interviews with reporter mark hertsgaard, crane described how in december 2010, drake's lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general, alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes drake had been charged with were "based in part, or entirely" on information that
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drake provided to the pentagon inspector general during its investigation of the nsa whistleblowers. in other words, the indictment had unmistakable similarities to the confidential testimony drake had given to crane's staff at the pentagon's inspector general's office. this suggests investigators had not simply given drake's name to the fbi, but shared his entire testimony. hertsgaard recounts this and much more of crane's story look,ly in his "braveheart's." in it, hertsgaard tells how drake's arrest, indictment and persecution sent an unmistakable message to snowden raising , concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. edward snowden has responded to crane's revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of us whistleblower protections. snowden told the guardian -- "we need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of
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success stories. protect the people who go to members of congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy -- recognize them for their efforts. there are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that's got to change." snowden continued -- "the sad reality of today's policies is that going to the inspector general with evidence of truly serious wrongdoing is often a mistake. going to the press involves serious risks, but at least you've got a chance." well, for more, we're joined for the first time i john crane formerly with the department of , defense inspector general's office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. and we are joined by mark hertsgaard, a correspondent at the nation magazine, an the author of several books including, most recently, "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in the age of snowden," which -- we welcome you both to
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democracy now! john crane, talk about why you're coming out publicly for the first time. >> and coming out publicly for the first time because what edward snowden did is it was the largest, most massive classified leak in this country's history. and so we have two separate issues here. one is, we, i think, need to make sure that there won't be anymore massive disclosures like that, but we can only assure that should we have a whistleblower protection system in place that will make sure, one, whistleblowers have the confidence to step forward without having their own individual identities compromised, and when they step forward that they are not subject to multiyear
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retaliation. amy: talk about where you work. people may not even realize the pentagon has an inspector general's office and what you are in charge of. >> yes. i was with the inspector general's office. i worked there for 25 years. i was a senior executive there. i was one of the founding generations there. i had an office that was largely responsible for transparency and for accountability. transparency meant i dealt with the media, congress. accountability meant i was responsible for the overall whistleblowing process. dod is a huge agency. million military. we have almost 700,000 civilians. we have half of the federal workforce. i was charged to make sure that
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within the pentagon that there could be principled dissent that would help to inform senior management regarding the way senior management make their own decisions, and -- and that that system guaranteed that those people stepping forward would not be destroyed. amy: and that included -- you oversaw the nsa as well. >> yes. amy: when did you start to get nervous? when did you start to get alarmed? >> i got alarmed fairly early on because since i was working witn we received the first whistleblowing complaints, the so-called four plus one, drake was called plus one because he wanted to have confidentiality maintained. house andt up to the
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senate intel committee's and they were making complaints about a large multibillion-dollar program that was responsible to gather huge amounts of information from u.s. citizens also. and it was simply behind schedule, over cost. it was not meeting acquisition milestones. so we of course met with the congress, and then we started in 18 month audit effort to see whether or not the various allegations brought to us were actually valid. we found that most of their concerns were valid and then we had the audit report issued in december 2004.
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pointsthe very important of that audit report was that this is our audit report. ig dod audit report talked about a climate within the nsa regarding management reprisal. dod, bynspector general statute, it is our responsibility making sure management reprisal does not take place. when i saw that, i said, look, we now have a civilian reprisal investigator on staff, daniel meyer, and he is now the whistleblower -- for the larger intelligence community. and i wanted him to have the matter investigated because we had made a finding. that was subsequently told
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we could not have the matter investigated and that was the first warning flag to me that there was a problem. amy: i want to go to national security agency whistleblower thomas drake in his own words. he was initially charged under the espionage act for leaking information about waste management at the agency, but the case against him later collapsed. we talked to drake in 2012 about his case. >> i was charged under the espionage act as part of the indictment handed down april 2010. there were five counts under the espionage act for retaining national defense information. the government alleged a was doing so for the purpose of disclosure. a was also charged with obstruction of justice as well as making false statements to fbi agents. my first day on the job was 9/11. it was shortly after 9/11 i was ofosed to the pandora's box
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illegality and government wrongdoing on a very significant scale. you had the fraud, waste, and multi-allg used in a you and other program when it was alternatives that actually existed and fulfilled most of the requirements of trailblazer's even before 9/11. amy: what happened to both thomas drake and bill binney and other nsa officials was frightening. we had a chance in april 2012 to interview nsa whistleblower william binney. he was appearing on democracy now! in his first ever television interview, and he described what happened when fbi agents raided his home after he became a whistleblower. this was right before they raided tom drake's house. >> i lived in a maryland -- four miles from nsa. amy: what happened?
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>> they came busting in. amy: who is they? >> the fbi. 10 or 12. they came in with guns drawn on my house. amy: where were you? >> i was taking a shower. my son answered the door. they pushed him out of the way at gunpoint and came running upstairs and found me in the shower. they came in and pointed the gun at me while -- on amy: at your head? >> oh, yes. they wanted to make sure i saw it and i was duly intimidated, i guess. juan: what do they do at that point? did they question you are just take you to headquarters? >> they basically separated as. i was separated from my family. they took the on the back porch and started asking me questions about it. basically, wanting me to tell them something that would implicate someone in a crime. and so i told them i did not really know -- they wanted to
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know about certain people. they were the ones being raided at the same time. those who were rated that day, all signed the dod ig complaint. we were the ones who filed the complain. amy: the pentagon and spectral general complaint. >> yes, talking about fraud, -- basically, corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse. raiedeom drake was w at the same time? >> no. juan: who were the other people that were rated? roark.e she was the senior staffer. she had the nsa account. amy: so they were the four, and plus one was drake, his house would be raided soon after. explainne, if you could
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-- bill binney ultimately would not be charged. he is a double amputee, by the way. tom drake was charged and you notice something similar about the charges against him and what he revealed to your office. >> yes. i was very concerned because when there was a 10 count indictment returned that three of the counts involved him housing information at his home, i was concerned that -- well, first, he was a confidential whistleblower. and under the inspector general amended, their confidentiality is are not revealed and they can only be revealed under two separate circumstances. that, one, you have to ask the
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whistleblowers are -- whistleblower whether they can have their identities revealed and, two, only if there is no other alternative. this is a case where this was safetyhreat to health, -- immediate threat. my concern was, and this was actually raised through the government accountability project because they represented him, was three of the charges could have related to whether or not he was following advice from the inspector general dod. and i was concerned that should he have housed material at his home, based upon ig dod advice, he would then be in put on trial under the espionage act because
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he was a confidential informant working with the ig inspector general. amy: we're going to go to break but i have to ask, what happened to you when you started raising these concerns? you were there, supposed to be protecting whistleblowers in the pentagon and the nsa, and you are now becoming a whistleblower. >> right. i was shut down. authoritya appellate also. amy: meaning when people asked you under the freedom of information act for information. >> absolutely. so when the attorneys came to us, they wanted to see weather whether in audit, those workpapers there was exculpatory information regarding why drake acted the way he did. appellate authority,
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i was in charge of simply gathering all of the information in the agency that -- those are documents that should have been retained, that they should have been permanent record. some of them were also secret documents, top-secret documents, sensitive intelligence documents. there is a very strict go to call regarding -- protocol regarding how those are handled, where they are, and if and when they are destroyed and, of course, by whom. those are answers i could not receive, and that is highly unusual. amy: we're going to continue this discussion in a moment. john crane, former senior official at the pentagon has revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government's whistleblower program.
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for a quarter of a century he , worked for the department of defense inspector general's office, which is supposed to help federal employees expose abuse and corruption. this is a secret chapter that even edward snowden did not know about, but is now coming to understand what was happening within the government. and we are going to speak with mark hertsgaard as well when we come back, to get a full picture of how this all fits together. his new book is out cold, "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in the age of snowden." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are in new york with this democracy now! broadcast exclusive with john crane, former senior official at the revealed majors
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privacy and security lapses within the government's whistleblower program. for 25 years he worked for the department of defense inspector general's office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. and we are joined by mark hertsgaard, who is the author of the new book "bravehearts: , whistle-blowing in the age of snowden." it recounts for the first time john crane's story. you call him the third man. why? >> as you said, everybody knows what snowden did at this point, -- to really understand it what snowden did and why he did it the way he did it, you need to understand the stories of two other men and one is thomas drake, as you said, and the other is the third man. and that third man is mr. john crane. i called him that partly because i needed to keep his identity confidential myself until we broke the story here today in
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new york on democracy now!, but also in the guardian and her spiegel. i chose to work with them because they broke the original snowden stories and they understood just how significant crane's revelations are because when you see everything that john crane tells us about how the whistleblower protection system inside the pentagon is broken, only results in a whistleblower having his life ruined -- as we saw with tom drake -- you see really edward snowden had no other choice but to go public. i guess he a two choices. he could have remained silent about the nsa surveillance and continued to leave the public in the dark about the fact that u.s. government was conducting orangeless,ss, -- illegal surveillance.
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he could have gone tom drake's direction and ended up destroyed like tom drake. instead, snowden went out and went public. he kind of what this did what daniel ellsberg did, which is to say am going to take these documents and give them to the press. as you said at the top of the hour from the guardian report yesterday, snowden says, look, going to the press is not without its risks. snowden is now living in exile. at least you have a chance to get the news out. i think that is what is important about john crane story. what baracklie to obama and hillary clinton evidencing about edward snowden from the beginning. he broke the law, should bring him home and face the music, is what hillary clinton said. you could have been a whistleblower, who are clinton added, and he would've gotten a good reception, i think. i would like to invite secretary clinton, tell that to thomas drake. tell that to john crane that you would've gotten a good reception i following the whistleblower
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law -- by following the whistleblower law. amy: i want to go to part of what edward snowden responded to crane's in the guardian. he said -- "we need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories. protect the people who go to members of congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy -- recognize them for their efforts. there are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that's got to in 2014 during a press commerce -- in 2013, president obama was asked about edward snowden. this is what he said. >> the fact is, mr. snowden has been charged with three felonies. believes what he did was right, then, like every american citizen, he can come here and appear before the court with a lawyer and make his case.
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if the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, i signed an executive order well before mr. snowden leaked this information that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligence community. the first time. there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions. amy: ok, the president says he signed an executive order that would reject whistleblowers. john crane, you were a top pentagon, in the inspector general's office, there within the whistleblower protection unit. is what president obama is saying true? >> there are fact patterns that he was of course not aware of. the general accountability
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office, which is the investigative arm of the congress, that they have issued two separate reports on the ig dod whistleblower program. and one of the reports they say that one quarter of all ig employees fear reprisal. in a federal employee climate survey, one third of all reprisal investigators fear reprisal. so we have a situation here based upon capitol hill taking in trust, showing that those investigators trying to actually prove reprisal are themselves retaliated against when they try to make findings substantiating reprisal.
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onehat is a dynamic that no would the white house have understood. amy: i want to go from the president to the person who wants to be president, hiller clinton, former secretary of state. this is a 2014 interview she did with the guardian where she said nsa whistleblower edward snowden should return to u.s. if he is serious in engaging in debate about privacy and security. >> i would say, first of all that edward snowden broke our laws and that cannot be ignored or brushed aside. secondly, i believe that if his primary concern was stirring a debate in our country over the tension between privacy and security, there were other ways of doing it. instead of stealing an enormous amount of information that had nothing to do with u.s. or american citizens. i would say thirdly that, there
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are many people in our history who have raised serious questions about government behavior. they have done it either with or without whistleblower protection and they have stood and faced whatever the reaction was to make their case in public. i don't know what he has been charged with, those are sealed indictments. i have no idea what he is in charge with. i'm not sure he knows what he is been charged with. but in any case that i'm aware lawyer, he has the right to mount a defense. he certainly has a right to mount a both a legal defense and a public defense, which of course can affect the legal defense. amy: i remember this interview very well that hillary clinton did in 2014 because i learned about it just as i was walking up the steps of the ecuadoran embassy in london to interview julian assange, who was holed up there in june 19 will be his fourth year in captivity. he has gotten solomon of wood or
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brick vis-a-vis steps outside he will be arrested and ultimately extradited to the united dates because you could be charged with treason. but what hillary clinton said, john crane, about him coming back to this country and you can launch a vigorous legal and public defense. john snowden. i'm in, edward snowden. of whennk that in terms you think whether or not you should be a whistleblower that you are concerned about whether or not the system works and there are very -- very intistics out there that regard to the way the ig even investigates senior officials over a 2.5 year period regarding senior officials in the army, 482 the ig dod received
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allegations, accepted 10 allegations, substantiated one allegation -- the departments -- >> 0.2%. the army, however, also investigating senior officials, under eiji dod oversight, they had 372 allegations. 372 investigated all allegations. they had 102 substantiated. substantiation rate. so this is a very major statistical anomaly. why does the army, looking at the same group of senior
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officials, have a 27% substantiation rate versus the ig with the 0.2%? amy: i want to go back to the case of tom drake. you alleged documents were destroyed. >> i don't allege that, documents were destroyed. ig -- e amy: you say you don't allege that come in fact to note documents were destroyed. >> that is what the ig dod said. documents were destroyed according to a standard document destruction policy. and that was a statement that they made to the department of justice in regard to the drake trial. drake's attorneys wanted to find exculpatory information. the ig dod response was, it just doesn't exist. amy: it had existed. >> it had existed and it should
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have existed. >> they made sure he did not exist. i think john is being diplomatic about his former colleagues. he asked for those documents and they said, oh, we can't give them to you. why not? well, because they don't exist anymore. why not? expletiveuse some screwed up and they were destroyed. in a supposedly routine purge of documents. were, obviously, lying about that. and then to make it worse, these two individuals, than acting inspector general of the pentagon and the general counsel -- on amy: explain who they are. >> lynn how brooks, the acting inspector general. and henry shelley, the general counsel, the one who said, we screwed up -- since this is a family proam -- and he said
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they have been destroyed and routine purge. governments do have to purge a lot of information, but you don't purge top-secret documents . to make it worse, they then lied to the federal judge in this case about that, assuring the judge that it was -- the documents have been lost in a routine purge. that is a felony. you cannot lie to a judge in a federal case. you cannot destroy documents. that is called obstruction of justice. that is really why these two individuals now are in legal jeopardy. the office of special counsel, which is an agency inside the u.s. government that investigates all of the whistleblower issues throughout intoovernment, they looked the allegations of john crane. in march, the issue the report and said there is "substantial likelihood that mr. crane's allegations are correct." that is the highest threshold of proof they could have asserted.
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and that means that now henry shelley, the general counsel, still at the pentagon's ig office and lynn halbrook, there are now facina new required defense secretary ashton carter has now had to authorize a new investigation into all of this. these are the kinds of crimes -- lying to a judge, obstructing justice, that if you are i did them, we would be going to jail. we will see these high-ranking pentagon officials and of going to jail. amy: we're going to break. when we come back, i want to ask you, john crane, what gave you the kurds to speak out. you quite a remarkable family history. we're talking with john crane, former being -- senior official at the pentagon and mark hertsgaard, who is written the story of john crane and thomas drake in a new book called, "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in the age of snowden."
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stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. officialormer pentagon is speaking out for the first time in this broadcast exclusive. john crane, former senior official at the news -- pentagon revealed major privacy and , security lapses within the government's whistleblower program. for 25 years he worked for the department of defense inspector general's office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. and we're joined by mark hertsgaard, who tells crane's a story in "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in the age of snowden." john crane, you were ever 25 years. you're not working there anymore. >> i was summit into ms. hal
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lbrook's office and walked out of the building. the pentagon inspector general building. it was not a surprising occurrence. amy: when was this? >> in february 2013. that since i was responsible for the overall whistleblower program, that within the inspector general's office, we had various whistleblowers stepping forward. and they had concerns regarding the audit function. they had concerns the way we investigated reprisal investigations, and they had contacted congress. and as the agency had, she asked me to identify do her ig employees who were that she couldso
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have the congressional oversight shut down because she did not want to have her senate ,omination endangered by them that she washe acting inspector general, that she wanted to be the permanent inspector general. and she could not afford to have whistleblowers contacting congress because that would create questions regarding whether she was qualified for the job that she wanted to have. amy: so you are walked out. you are fired. >> physically walked out. amy: what gave you the courage to speak out? talk about your family. >> civil society is very important. in any large society that there the compact between government and those who govern them, and there needs to be
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transparency and there needs to be accountability. and should you have the wrong balance, should you have an executive out of control, that can simply compromise everyone's rights. and in germany after world war i when you have lots of unemployed soldiers with a grievance following a very talented sociopaths, you can never really explosive, nation, and that was nazi germany. my father served under a republic, the liberal german republic -- >> grandfather. >> grandfather after the first world war. he was actually based down in munich. he was in charge to monitor
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radical elements. and when hitler tried to seize power for the first time, hitler tried to use force. 1923 him a the hitler tried to seize the whole bavarian government. he walked into the bureau hall and fired a gun into the ceiling saying that he was taking control. my grandfather stepped in front of him saying, mr. hitler, this controlill never germany. then hitler simply put his gun down, went to the front, captured the whole senior leadership. my grandfather then helped to countercoupual
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established, put down hitler's uprising, and then he went to trial -- then he was a witness at the trial for the government that of course put him in jail. amy: and what happened to her grandfather? >> my grandfather, of course, was in a fascist -- wasn't a fascist. in 1933 when mr. hitler seized power, he resigned, but he was not allowed to resign. theas very active with anti-fascist resistance. the uncle was killed in poland in 1939. one of his friends was a young who was the man who
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actually put the suitcase beside hitler in 1944 to have hitler killed. so he was a family friend. , within any society , how does a person channel simply principled civil dissent naziut -- in a dictatorship that incurs violence? here, system we have because it is a constitutional democracy, principled dissent needs to be channeled through the whistleblower system because that will help senior management also seeing levels down. amy: do you want your old job back within the pentagon's
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inspector general's office, being in charge of protection of whistleblowers? outsidei was in charge civil society organizations said i programs were the federal gold standard. that is not the case anymore. should the new acting inspector general want to return his office to be gold standard, i am willing to help. amy: mark hertsgaard, as we came to wrap up, how you to investigate this story and what the government's response has been. you have interviewed michael hayden several times. >> i did. the reason i got this story is because of the work of the government accountability project, and they deserve a shout out here. for 37 years, there been defending whistleblowers, advocating for whistleblowers,
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both in individual cases like this and helping to write things like the whistle protection -- whistleblowing protection law and push it through. i say in theings book's while this is a very dramatic story, we need to understand as citizens, we absolutely depend as a democracy on whistleblowers. we have got to know they can come forward. when whistleblowers come for, whether it is john crane were edward snowden or jeffrey weekend who blew the whistle on how big tobacco was lying about nicotine in our cigarettes, whistleblowers can make wars and. they can take deadly products off the market. otherhole range of things. i think whistleblowers do not get the respect that they deserve and that is what i was trying to do in his book. accountability project let me do that.
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amy: and the institutions you decided to release this information with, where you went and where you did. >> not go. >> i went to februaryrope to meet face-to-face in february with the editors at the guardian because they broke the snowden story originally and proud to say they saw the value of the story right away, the same with der schlegel in germany. i chose them because they are outside the u.s. too often the mainstream media in this country, as you well know, amy, tend to, by default almost, reflect and channel the government's views of this. of course i went to the government. i asked henry shelley and then halbrook.-- lynn i think they're assuming this is going to blow over. in general, the american media has not held their feet to the fire. michael hayden, the nsa director, he basically says that he wanted to put edward snowden
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on a government kill list. he said that was a joke. he is not quite as bloodthirsty as james woolsey, the former cia director who said last november after the paris terrorist attacks that mr. snowden "should suffer death by hanging, electrocution is too good for him." so when you have a government like that who has that kind of activity to whistleblowers, it is all the more important that, as snowden said yesterday reacting to john's a story in the guardian, snowden said, we need to recognize whistleblowers and basically lived them up in the public debate because without that, without the press doing that, the government will, by either active or de facto hostilities, they will take people like john crane down. and our democracy will be lessened. we will not know the nsa is spying on all of us had not edward snowden decided to go outside of the whistleblower
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system and become an active conscience. amy: i want to turn to donald trump, the presumptive republican presidential nominee who was speaking on cnn last year. he called nsa whistleblower edward snowden a traitor. >> a total traitor. i would do with them harshly. if our president, putin would give him over. i have dealt with russia. he would never keep somebody like snowden in russia. he hates obama. he does not respect obama. obama doesn't not like him, either. he has a hatred for obama. snowden is living the life. look, if i'm president ,putin says, hey, you're gone. i guarantee you. amy: that was donald trump talking about edward snowden. john crane, your final comment? >> regarding whistleblowing, that civil society, the office
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of the special counsel, and the congress and the most recent defense authorization bill under chairman mccain independently have all reached the same conclusion regarding the whistleblowing system within the toand their message secretary ashton carter is, houston, we have a problem. amy: we will leave it there. i want to thank you, john crane, former senior official at the pentagon, in charge of protecting whistleblowers at the pentagon and the nsa, speaking out here in this broadcast exclusive on democracy now! mark hertsgaard, congratulations on your new book, "bravehearts: whistle-blowing in the age of snowden." for today's show. i will be at the philadelphia free library today on vine street at noon speaking and tomorrow evening at the brooklyn historical society.
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have you birthday to mike ♪ [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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